By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
AN Exuma man died about two hours after he was shot by an off-duty police officer on that island on Wednesday night, police said.
A statement issued by police shortly after the incident said the officer in question “has been relieved of his duties and is assisting police with the investigation”.
Relatives have identified the deceased as 39-year-old Jarvis Burrows, who moved to Exuma from Nassau about two years ago.
Cell phone videos taken by a bystander in the aftermath of the shooting show a man believed to be the officer in plain clothes holding a gun in his hand as he hovers over the victim.
In the video, the victim, while still alive, is seen lying shirtless on the ground with an apparent gunshot wound to the buttocks.
The officer, who appears calm, then pulls a small plastic bag out of the victim’s hand, which a bystander says is marijuana.
The bystander is heard repeatedly screaming for an ambulance to take the victim to hospital, claiming Burrows was “shot for a bag of weed”.
He also asked why it had been necessary for the officer to open fire.
Meanwhile, a man who said he witnessed the incident alleged that the officer had been bothering the deceased for a week prior to the fatal shooting.
Jahkino Rivers told The Tribune he was present when the officer came after Burrows apparently for a bag of weed at Harts Settlement, Exuma.
“The officer—I bumped into him before I come to the bar where I was at and he was parked outside of Island Luck and when he came out he looked like he was mad or something and then people was saying he spent all his money,” Mr Rivers told The Tribune.
“The same officer is parked across the road and he’s telling people how he just broke up a bench that Jarvis usually sit down and chill at.
“Jarvis had a bag in his hand….(the officer) came out of nowhere in the dark, jump out on him. He grabbed for the bag of weed with one hand and in the other hand he had the gun in hand. He was telling him that he gone shoot him if he don’t give (him) the weed. Jarvis keep screaming ‘please, (officer’s name) no. I don’t want to go to jail. Please let me go. Please leave me.’”
Mr Rivers said bystanders told the 39-year-old to just give the drug to the officer. Instead, he said, Burrows was allegedly trying to run.
“He never grabbed the gun…. and (the officer) shoot him and then after he shoot him he jumped on top of him. . .(he had his) knee on Jarvis and like he holding Jarvis down and then with the other hand that got the gun, he facing everybody and like pointing the gun ‘if any one of y’all jump into this it’s gonna be y’all too.’
“We was pleading for him to get off him and he kept telling us he ain’t calling for nobody so people started calling the ambulance and calling the police for him.
“For the whole week, he been coming around and (bothering) Jarvis and few of us who is be out here talking about we don’t work - it’s a pandemic nobody really working right now,” Mr Rivers claimed.
On the cell phone footage which circulated yesterday, a bystander can be heard saying: “You’re not supposed to come shoot people like dogs, boy, for a bag of (expletive) weed.
“Come on dog, you off duty, you shouldn’t even do that. There are better ways to do things man.
“That could have been any one of us right now. Anyone going to run from you, you going to shoot us, boy?
“For a bag of weed, dog. What this (expletive) do that far to get shoot, what’d he do? What’d he do, what’d he do?
“He didn’t do nothing to get shoot, that’s sad boy,” the bystander said, pleading for someone to take Burrows to the hospital.
“Look at all this blood man. . .this is somebody’s child, boy. . .this is Exuma. You shoot this n* for a bag of weed.... Put him in the car. . .c’mon let’s get this n* to the hospital. This don’t make no sense. For a bag of weed this man shoot this man.”
Part of the bystander’s comments have been edited by The Tribune for legal reasons.
Burrows’ sister Piedra Pinder said she was present during his last moments at the clinic as he fought for his life, after getting messages that he had been shot.
“I just went in and looked at my brother just gasping his last breath and I just said you know now is the time to call mummy because this is serious,” she said.
The family decided to meet at the airport in anticipation of Burrows being airlifted to New Providence. She said officials would not let relatives see her brother at the airport and claims there was a lack of communication.
She said her brother was locked up three weeks ago and their mother had an encounter with the officer allegedly involved.
She said he was released and “just was enjoying his life for a couple days” before the shooting.
She was upfront about her brother’s past with drugs and said her family did not condone his lifestyle.
“We didn’t support it but….he’s a grown man,” she said.
She said her brother loved Exuma as he just wanted a peaceful life. He moved to the island in 2018 around the time he had his child, said his sister.
“The same time around he had his baby, I had an uncle that got murdered and my mother went to the funeral in Nassau and he told mom he didn’t want to be in Nassau no more. If she could give him a chance you know come to Exuma.”
According to police, the shooting occurred shortly after 9pm on Wednesday, involving an off-duty police officer.
“A male victim was transported to the Exuma medical facility to be treated. Air ambulance was summoned to transport the victim to New Providence. While at the Exuma International Airport awaiting transport, sometime around 11pm, the victim succumbed to his injuries. The officer involved has been relieved of his duties and is assisting police with the investigation,” a police report said.
Police Commissioner Paul Rolle could not be reached for comment yesterday.